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Invention of the name baritenore[edit]

This article caught my eye. It might or might not benefit from a "not to be confused with the colloquialism 'Bari-tenor'" tag, but we really ought to make clear when the term first appeared. "Taille" is a familiar designation to all lovers of French music; is it really to be distinguished from "Baryton" in 17c usage? Sparafucil (talk) 07:13, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Although the author lists two resources, I am not convinced that this is a real term and not a product of original research. I am currently away from home and my access to resources is therefore limited at the moment. However, I will investigate the matter further after the New Year.Nrswanson (talk) 19:59, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Here is the article’s author! I am sorry I cannot fully understand the difference between a “term” and a “product of original research”. Anyway, the word “baritenore” was not in use, for what I know, during the 17th and 18th centuries; it ought to be a neologism (that I haven’t surely invented myself), but it is, without any possible doubt, commonly employed by modern Italian singing musicologists to refer to the kind of tenor which was resorted to during the mentioned centuries. One may agree to the term “baritenore”, or may not: surely, a category of tenors provided with the characteristics described in the article used to sing in the coeval Italian opera and that was the only kind of tenors then commonly employed. As for the “taille” (which is not to be confused with the “bass-taille”) , I do have to confess that I am not quite versed in the French opera, but I have read that, in the same way as the Italian baritenore, the taille can resemble both a high tessitura baritone and a low tessitura tenor, and, for what I know, the roles written for the taille were usually sung in Italy by tenors: I can cite, for the purpose, the example of Domenico Donzelli who sang, in Naples’s première of Spontini’s La vestale, the role of Cinna, which is undoubtedly a taille part. From the opposite starting point, Manuel García father (or “Manuel del Pópulo Vicente García”, as Wikipedia insists on calling him), a baritenore that was higher-ranged than usual (he was reported even to be able to utter the later famous high do from the chest), had in his ordinary repertoire the title part of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Had he got thereupon a baritone too? Nowadays, maybe, when the haute-contre has substantially disappeared and has been replaced by average tenors, it would be nothing to be surprised, if, in order to avoid too much timbre uniformity, taille roles were entrusted to baritones, but they yet remain parts originally written for low/medium-ranged tenors.

To sum up, the tenor as we conceive it nowadays, did not exist until Romanticism; apart from hautes-contre, the only kind of tenors on stages was that of a low/medium-ranged one that was called taille in France, or simply tenor in Italy, and that is presently usually catalogued by (Italian) musicology as “tenore baritonale” or “baritenore”. The sources I have reported are: 1. an operatic encyclopaedia published, during the eighties, in instalments enclosed to la Repubblica, one of the most serious and diffused newspapers in Italy; it has got no proper article named “baritenore”, but it dwells at length upon it in the general article concerning the tenor (“tenore”); 2. an essay on the history of belcanto written by one of the best-known singing musicologist in Italy, Rodolfo Celletti, who was also the founder of the Festival della Valle d'Itria; he used to be sometimes rather extreme in his views (even if I would commonly agree with him), but that does not matter in the baritenore’s case, where he just gives a description of a historical evolution basing it solely upon mere facts. Finally, I would only dare to have Sparafucil and Nrswanson notice that, at least in my opinion, a tiny bit less haughtiness (in Italian, “spocchia”) should not surely make them seem more unpleasant at all! I do not know how to correctly sign this note, but anyone who is interested will not have any problem to find my address in the “history” of the articles “baritenore”, “Giacomo David”, “Gilbert Duprez” or “Domenico Donzelli”. Best wishes to everybody. Jeanambr Jeanambr (talk) 10:00, 26 December 2008

Comment The term is used by Celletti (in the English translation of his book, A History of Bel Canto, it is "baritone-tenor"). e.g. [1]. The problem is, he says that the baroque baritone-tenor was "later often identified with baritone". But later in the book he uses it consistently for tenors like Andrea Nozzari who sang certain Rossini roles, e.g. the title role in Otello, and other similar tenors of era. The term "baritenor" is used in the latter sense by Tom Kaufman in his liner notes for the Marston Records recording, Hermann Jadlowker Dramatic Coloratura Tenor.[2] The term "tenore baritonale" ia also used in that sense by Piero Gelli (ed), Dizionario dell'Opera.[3] as is the term "baritenore" by Richard Turp in "The Evolution of the Voice", La Scena Musicale, November 2000 Issue.[4]. Simlarly, written as "bari-tenor", the term is used in "Doctor Bennati on the Human Voice" in the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal (Vol 40, 1833) - most notably to describe the tenors Domenico Donzelli and Gaetano Crivelli (father of Domenico Crivelli).[5] The 1889 Grove uses the term tenor taille to refer to the same voice type as Nozzari and basse taille for what later became the baritone.[6]
One of the problems here is to agree on the actual name of the article. It also needs to be extensively edited for coherence and idiomatic English. At the moment it's a bit confusing, especially to the general reader, and even to specialists who are not Italian speakers. Jeanambr, it is not helpful or accurate to describe the comments by Sparafucil and Nrswanson as "haughtiness". The criticism and doubts expressed on this page are valid and are made in good faith. The English Wikipedia takes the concept of no original research seriously as well as issues concerning the relevance and accessibility of its articles to English speakers. So do those of us in the Wikipedia Opera Project who look after these types of articles. Best wishes, Voceditenore (talk) 10:16, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Thanks very much to Voceditenore for its frank explanation anh his clarification. Since I do not want to breack the behaviour rules of Wikipedia that must be so important in getting so many people working together, I would only espress my regret for letting myself go in valuation of Sparafucil and Nrswanson's criticism: of course, by no means did I want to question their good faith or the actual validity of their doubts, but only a certain teasing tone I had improperly felt in their notes.

Finally, I have not clearly understood if my incursions into English Wikipedia can be considered helpful (while reading Voceditenore' comment, for instance, I immediately got tempted to translate the article about Gaetano Crivelli which I have created for Italian Wikipedia), or if, because of my scarce knowledge of the language, it may be believed better for me to forbear for the future. Jeanambr (talk)--Jeanambr (talk) 00:43, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Since I was at home unwell, I couldn't resist the temptation to create the article Gaetano Crivelli by substantially translating the corresponding Italian "voice"; as for the right translation of the notorious term "baritenore", awaiting mother-tongue users' decision, I couldn't help recording that in English the adjective "baritonal" doesn't exist (for "baritonal tenor" would have been a perfect translation), and I choosed meantime to steer a middle course using the phrase "baritone-type tenor" (or I could have used, as well, "baritone-like tenor", but I was not able to sniff at the nuance of meaning between the two phrases). Eventually, mother-tongue users will get to settle the whole question and make all necessary corrections.Jeanambr (talk) 20:07, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Baritonal is indeed commonly used in English, even if lexographers sometimes dont know this. I'm sorry if my tone above was misinterpreted (and I shudder to think how I might come across attempting Italian), but I hadnt heard baritenore except as chorister slang for a tenor without high notes. I'm beginning to be less confused, but baryton-Martin is widely understood and I myself am still not sure how it differs from bariton-premartin. (Well, yes, I do tease from time to time! We are doing this for fun after all, and of course I value your contributions.) All the best, Sparafucil (talk) 03:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Thank you very much ... and sorry again for my touchiness! Jeanambr (talk) 16:43, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

page move[edit]

Given the complications that arise from frequent page moving, I think the question of what to call this page is worth discusing first. There may be a logic in questioning the term baritenore and then moving it to bari-tenor, which also is unlisted in English reference works, but Nrswanson's concerns belong on a talk page instead of an article:

Bari-tenor, along with a number of similar constructions (baritenor, baritenore, tenore baritonale), is an opera voice type term with several possible different meanings that is subject to a wide array of interpretations. In general the term is used to define a certain distinct type of male singing voice, but varying uses of the term define that distinctness differently. While the term has been in use since at least the early nineteenth century, historically the term has not been used with any modicum of consistency, nor with much frequency by musicians or music scholars. Therefore attempts at providing an exact definition are impossible. Indeed, no major music encyclopedia or dictionary includes the term in their coverage both now or historically.

Somehow we have already got from "not in use, for what I know, during the 17th and 18th centuries" to "in use since at least the early nineteenth century". Jeanambr has given us a referenced article on an Italian term that ought to be taken on good faith as reflecting the cited sources. What is unclear in my mind is whether an inline citation on the decline of the baritenore might be supplied. The lead might then read:

Baritenore is a term in use among contemporary Italian musicologists to describe a voice type of the Baroque era, intermediate in range to tenor and baritone. It has nothing to do with the slangy bari-tenor, used to describe an obligingly flexible chorister. The baritenore or taille was later replaced by a new style of singing[citation needed] exemplified by Jean-Blaise Martin (1768-1837), after whom a new intermediate voice type, baryton-Martin, was named<ref>Faure 1886</ref>. When speaking of earlier music, it is useful to speak of baritenore instead of baryton-Martin because...[from here on I must defer to those familiar with the Italian sources]

If my interpretation is all misunderstanding, I hope it at least leads to a clarification of the original article. Sparafucil (talk) 22:49, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

As I see it Sparafucil, we have here a collection of terms that really defy a set definition. As voceditenore has excellently pointed out above there is a lot of inconsistancy in this area and I personally think that wikipedia's article should reflect that. While I think Jeanambr faithfully explained the position given by a small handful of Italian musicologists, I don't think that their writings are substantial enough to warrant giving it factual credence. (i.e. the only definition of the term) If I am understanding correctly, historically there is no evidence that the term "baritenore" was used at all during the baroque period. It's merely a small group of modern writers "coining a term" for their own use. If more writers and authors embrace the term's use in this way than I could see giving this opinion more credence. As it is, I doubt that many musicologists will embrace the term given its complete lack of historical basis. Further, I am not convinced that these writers are the first Italian authors to use the term "baritenore" and that earlier writers may have defined the term in a different way. I further see no reason to assume that "baritenore" and "bari-tenor" are two seperate terms. While "bari-tenor" is a modern slang word, music scholars have also used the term (see voceditenore's sources above for just a few examples) as early as the early 1800s but withoout much consistancy. I therefore think my summation is an accurate picture of this complex issue.Nrswanson (talk) 00:29, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, Nrswanson, I now see the 1833 reference above (why not in the article, though?) It says (page 167): "Among male singers the bari-tenor, and among females the mezzo soprano is the medium." This sounds like a synonym for an ordinary baritone. Anyway, the standard for Wikipedia isnt so much 'factual credence' as verifiability. I think we agree that haute-taille and bariton-Martin are real types (even if I'm not sure whether you feel they should have their own pages) and the question is whether the two can be equated or should be developed separately. The last (Bariton-Martin) is unambiguous in English, if indeed it is what is meant by baritenore. Sparafucil (talk) 02:50, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Hmmm... A few points. First, I'm honestly not sure it would be accurate or fair to correlate the term bari-tenor with haute-taille and bariton-Martin. That would be original research since I don't think a significant ammount of scholars or indeed a particularly notable individual scholar has made such a connection. Bari-tenor is used so inconsistantly among the few scholars who have used the term that such a connection in my view would be a misrepresentation of truth. There's not enough consensus here to even credit it as a "school of thought". Second, I do think haute-taille and bariton-Martin are real terms and there are references that address them so they could become their own articles. Third, I personally think we should nominate this article for deletion as any attempt at defining the term would be original research or original synthesis. The version given by Jeanambr is, in my view, an inappropriate promotion of a fringe theory.Nrswanson (talk) 03:24, 14 January 2009 (UTC)


Sorry, but Nrswanson's new version [7] was not on and I've reverted it. His version removed all referencing and failed to add any new ones (although plenty have been provided on this page concerning the variance in use). It consisted merely of his personal opinion about the term and the article. That belongs on the talk page not in the article. It was even more OR than it was before. If you feel that the article as it was isn't viable and can't possibly be improved then take it to AfD for discussion. But don't load the dice by turning it into a completely non-viable, unreferenced article before hand. Voceditenore (talk) 17:16, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

I suppose you are right Voceditenore, even though I think my version is an accurate picture of the term's history. I really didn't want to reference my version because it would have been original synthesis of primary sources. No scholar to my knowledge has written a history of these particular terms (bari-tenor, baritenore, etc.) and their use. It actually would make a really good research paper for a graduate music student. However, I don't think the article can stay at it is now. The current version presents only one view in a highly complex term. Its basically WP:Fringe. We could present other viewpoints but I think that approach would be original synthesis/original research since we basically would be drawing our own conclusions off of primary source material. And those conclusions may not be accurate as I doubt we will be able to get access to a lot of material (historical doccuments in Europe for example) that would be essential for a propper and accurate treatment of the subject. I therefore stongly suggest that we take this to AFD. Would I have your support in doing this everyone?Nrswanson (talk) 19:46, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
All in all, I think I'd support deletion. It's very difficult to see how this could make a viable "terminology article". Parts of it and some of the references above could perhaps be incorporated into the tenor article or into articles on individual tenors when documenting how their voices have been described, or indeed in an article on Rodolfo Celletti. (He was quite a notable Italian critic and musicologist, by the way.) But if you do bring it to AfD, I think it's important for the discussants to see the article pretty much as it was intended to be, not a de facto blanking of it. Best, Voceditenore (talk) 16:33, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
PS I just found the term "baritenor" in my hard copy of Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language (Unabridged) where it is defined as "a baritone singing voice with virtually a tenor range". Not quite the spin Celletti puts on it, though. Whatever, it's going to be hard to argue that the term literally doesn't exist or that it's not been defined in a reliable source. One could also argue that a viable article could be made starting with the Webster's definition and documenting authors who have used the term differently, without making any value judgements on whether they're right or wrong. Come to think of it, it might be an interesting article. By the way, Elson's Music Dictionary (1905) has an entry for "bari-tenor" which is defined as er... "The deeper sort of tenor voice". Similarly, Julius Schuberth's 1888 music dictionary defines "bari-tenor" as "der tiefere Tenor" ("the deeper tenor"). (Schuberth was a prominent 19th century music publisher) Voceditenore (talk) 17:10, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
PPS. Been looking some more. I now find another early 20th century music dictionary with the term "baritenore". The American History and Encyclopedia of Music (1908) defines it as "A low tenor voice, almost barytone". More recently Richard Miller in his 2008 Securing Baritone, Bass-Baritone, and Bass Voices has a section called "The Baritenor" where he describes the term as "a common category of young male voice [...] the classical singer whose passage zone lies between C4 and F4". You can read it here [8]. So I'm no longer sure that this article should be deleted, but rather re-written to document (with meticulous inline citations) how the term has been variously defined in the literature and without making an original synthesis to arrive at an "agreed" definition. Personal opinions and flights of fancy should be kept well out it. In other words, it should be an article about the history of a musical term rather than an authoritative definition of it. I think it would be a good idea to get further imput from other Opera Project on this before taking it to AfD. Best, Voceditenore (talk) 19:13, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm...Sounds like there is more out there than I was aware of Voceditenore. It still seems odd to me that major music references like Grove don't cover the term and regular encyclopedias do. Knowing you, I trust that anything you craft will be well measured and unbiased. However, I'm still not sure this is the best solution. It's hard point out weeknesses in a theoretical article or to judge the value of something that is non-existant. I am still concerned that we may not be able to provide an accurate history since we may not be aware of all the relative content (particularly from writers prior to 1900). That being said, I am personally willing to wait on an AFD nom to see how your suggested article develops.Nrswanson (talk) 00:59, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm working on a couple of other articles at the moment, but in a couple of days, I'll revise this article along the lines I set out above and then we can revisit the issue. I don't see this as a "theoretical" article, any more than Pastorale héroïque is. It would simply be an article informing readers about the way a musical term has been defined and the contexts in which it has been used. There's no need to initally cover every single use of the term prior to 1900. Wikipedia is a work in progress. Many of the music or opera terminology articles are incomplete. A large proportion of them are also entirely unreferenced. At least that wouldn't be the case in this article.
People do come across this term in books and the press, notably self-descriptions as baritenors (jokingly or otherwise) by Leo Slezak in Time Magazine,[9] David Daniels in Andante,[10] and Plácido Domingo in The New York Times.[11] They may also see the term used in musical theatre casting information, e.g. [12] and books, e.g.[13] or in recording reviews, e.g. [14], [15] (Opera News alone has 16 recording reviews that use the term) or liner notes, e.g. [16]. They will come here wanting to learn more. Voceditenore (talk) 13:48, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

I hope all of you will excuse my new incursion into your debate which I’m sorry having caused and which I can’t and won’t meddle with, but I just would like to make it clear that the word “baritenore” is fairly widely used by Italian musicology as a whole, and not only by Rodolfo Celletti. Another of the contemporary major Italian “vociologi” (as we say for fun), Giorgio Gualerzi, for instance, uses the same word, as well. In the Teatro Municipale Valli Reggio Emilia’s programme for the performances of La clemenza di Tito in 1988, he wrote a short essay titled: “Tito era un clemente, ma in Italia pochi lo sanno”. In this work he narrates that the protagonist of the Italian première of Mozart’s last opera was “the famous tenor (actually «baritenore») Gaetano Crivelli”. Nor is the word completely confined to specialist literature. The same Giorgio Gualerzi, former musical critic of Turin’s daily paper “La Stampa”, one of the most authoritative in Italy, wrote in his review of ROF’s Bianca e Falliero on Monday’s paper edition (Stampa sera) dated August 25, 1986: Contareno’s part “was entrusted to the tenor voice arranged to a father role (as in Tancredi and later in Maometto II), substantially to a baritenore, rather a cross (croce) than a delight (delizia) of so many recent Rossini revivals. At Pesaro has prevailed the delight ...” (of Chris Merritt’s performance however not lacking problems).

As for the very contents of Wikipedia’s article, in order to “make clear the sources”, even if without “inline citations” (which are very hard to be done, since I have tried to avoid a slavish translation of the source so as to escape copyright problems), I’ll try to send to you (Voceditenore can surely read Italian) the scanned reproduction of the article “tenore” of Grande Enciclopedia della Musica Lirica. It remains a substantially popularizing-aimed work and contains a lot of inexactitudes and errors (but what encyclopaedia does not), but can yet boast of such notable contributors as Bruno Cagli, Rodolfo Celletti himself, Aldo Nicastro, Sergio Sablich and so on. Sincerely Jeanambr (talk) 17:46, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Unluckily, I've had to notice that I can't e-mail any attachments, and so I don't know how to send you scanned material. Sorry. Jeanambr (talk) 18:10, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Comments on new version[edit]

Wow Voceditenore! I must say that this new version is absolutely fantastic. Thank you so much for putting together this excellent synthesis. This is excactly where this article needed to go. I upgraded the rating to C class. Well done!Nrswanson (talk) 18:39, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Vivaldi’s Farnace[edit]

The article states that the title role of Vivaldi’s Farnace was created by a baritenor: since both Amadeusonline Almanac and Le magazine de l'opéra baroque report that it was first performed by the female contralto Maria Maddalena Pieri, I would suggest that the statement should be controlled. Different instances of a baritenor performing a title role are: Annibale Pio Fabri singing Dario in Vivaldi’s L'incoronazione di Dario (1717) or Angelo Amorevoli singing Hasse’s Solimano (1753). --Jeanambr (talk) 11:35, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Actually, it merely stated that it wasn't written for a castrato, which is true. But I agree Dario is a much better example and have changed the article accordingly. Voceditenore (talk) 13:48, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

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